04 Jan Latitude is dead

Since I still receive a lot of comments and email about the browser project that was once started by me, called Latitude. Latitude has been discussed in depth on this blog, so I won’t spend an entire new article on it. I was really quite fond of the concepts behind Latitude, but as all the members of the team have no free time to spend on it, we have to be frank after months of inactivity and call it quits.

Fortunately (or rather, unfortunately), it seems not all concepts shown in the mocked up screenshots of Latitude will go lost with the demise of the project. Apple has patented (yes, legally patented) a few of the ideas that we have discussed online. These patent filings appeared in late 2008 on websites like Macrumors, and as a team, we were quite surprised to see them. For us, it won’t matter, but I hope it won’t stifle innovation in the browser marketplace. I do hope to make an announcement in January that will relate to this, and I hope it will also help in a future where I hope to see more well-designed and useful browsers. So long, Latitude, we barely knew ye.

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17 Responses

  1. In some ways it’s truly a shame, but perhaps the ideas of the project will better live on in making many more and established browsers better so all may enjoy them. Long live idea discussion.

  2. 2
    Ben Jacob 

    sad ! It was a good idea….

  3. 3
    Andreas 

    Aw, I had been waiting on more news on this. Eager to hear about your announcement tho

  4. Hmm … did Apple buy the ideas from you guys?

  5. 5
    Alan 

    Open source it. Then it will prob get finished. Why let a code base grow dust on the dev’s hard drive.

  6. 6
    Robert 

    I second the idea of open-sourceing it!

  7. 7
    Joel 

    Yes, open source is a great way to have this be finished. I would definitely look into coding some stuff for it…

  8. Whahaha, yessir! I uh, fourth it? Yeah, I definitely fourth that motion.

  9. It’s funny; I liked the idea so much, that I started to work on my own version of it before I heard you already had a developer. I would encourage you not to abandon the project, or, at least, not let it disappear in the sands of time. I would, like the others have said, open source it. I, for one, would jump on it and modify it to try to get some sort of product like your original concept out.

    You also mentioned that Apple has patented some of your ideas. What have they patented? I’m subscribed to many major Apple news sites, and I don’t think I’ve seen something that’s similar to the concepts you’ve had for Latitude.

  10. 10
    Jay 

    If patents appeared on websites in late 2008, then Apple filed the patents several years before you came up with any of the ideas in latitude (or publicly disclosed them, at least.)

    It takes several years for a patent to be approved, and until they are, the filings are not made public. They are kept secret by the patent office while it goes thru the process (to prevent someone from copying an idea that doesn’t yet have patent protection.)

    People like to think that Apple is taking their ideas, but in every case I’ve heard of, Apple actually came up with them first. (Most notably the kalaidascope and watson cases– in fact, the name of watson is a clue as its a rip off of apple’s sherlock product, which came first.)

  11. 11
    Jay 

    FWIW, and to be more specific, the patents I have took 4-5 years between filing and disclosure when the patent was granted. It seems to be faster for Apple, but not much.

  12. 12
    Justin Finamore 

    Ahh, man. I’m sorry to hear that. Looked like a really cool idea. Hope you find some way to preserve it or do open source it (if you’re feeling generous that is).

  13. The problem with Open Source is that design always takes a serious hit! There is probably no OS project that has a nice UI! I don’t think it’s of Sebastiaan’s interest of having an ugly UI :D!

    Cheers,
    Max

  14. 14
    Alan 

    @Maximilian,

    Open source != free for all. It’s the code that is getting open sourced, not the UI. Designers just come in, draw the pictures and determine how elements interact visually. Firefox is open source, it has 100s , maybe 1000s, 99.99% of those involved have nothing to do with the UI.

    Also, open source projects have a project leader(s) who determine what gets added to the code base and gets implemented.

  15. 15
    makojad 

    It was a tremendous project, pity it cannot be continued. But I guess for Cocoia it means other projects can be pushed on. Best of luck with your great job, Sebastiaan.

  16. @Maximilian

    The problem with Open Source is that design always takes a serious hit! There is probably no OS project that has a nice UI! I don’t think it’s of Sebastiaan’s interest of having an ugly UI :D!

    Maybe there’s no OS Mac app with a great UI, but projects like Django have a dedicated designer (in this case, Wilson Miner, I believe) and a bunch of community coders, led by a few lead developers. The interface wouldn’t need to take a hit, but I’m kind of missing the overall point of creating another browser when we’ve already got Safari and FireFox – even OmniWeb, despite its less-than-perfect interface. It’d almost make more sense to contribute to FireFox’s interface than create a browser from scratch, but it’s a split decision for me. I guess I couldn’t really help code any Cocoa (I’m a Python guy), so my opinion isn’t really that important in this discussion, but just wanted to point out the few things I mentioned.

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